Author Archives: valpinny

Landscape gardening!


Monday 18th to Saturday 30th November

Over the summer the weeds took over the strip of land at the side of our house 🌱

I made myself go out there when already tired after work and whenever I had a spare few minutes, I spent hours and hours out there clearing the whole lot. And I hurt my back in the process πŸ˜–

So on my day off on Monday this finally happened.

Robyn helped me in the afternoon after she had already been to the gym. We both worked so VERY hard. It was such a cold day, we were both freezing. We couldn’t even go inside for a bit of a warm up as the boiler was still broken 😨

It was a tough day, we were exhausted and both hurting but we DID it!

I felt quite proud of what I had achieved with no help πŸ’ͺ I hadn’t done myself much good at all as the next day (and for most of the week) I felt like I had been run over by a bus πŸ₯΄ but I had done it πŸ˜ƒ

The very next day we finally got the boiler fixed🀞

And I spent the following Monday in such a different way – at a spa with my friend Nina πŸŠβ€β™€οΈπŸ§–β€β™€οΈπŸ’†β€β™€οΈ

Thank you ❀️


Friday 15th to Sunday 17th November

Boiler’s broken again. We’re all freezing πŸ₯Ά No heating, no hot water ☹️ Tough times.

Ever wondered what goes into retrieving an organ for transplant? (I know it’s heart and lungs but it’s still interesting!)

I saw this from the Royal Papworth Hospital, which is one of the largest specialist cardiothoracic (heart and lung) hospitals in Europe and includes the UK’s main heart and lung transplant centre.

“Some of our National Organ Retrieval Service (NORS) team take on the #TetrisChallenge to show all of the kit required for retrieving a heart or lungs (sometimes both) from an organ donor. In this picture we have:

❀️ An OCS (Organ Care System) heart machine and an OCS lung machine – transports the donated organ

❄️ Ice boxes – to cool and protect the organ

πŸ’‰ A cell saver – enables patients to receive their own blood back during surgery

⚑️ Defibrillators

πŸ‘¨πŸ½β€βš•οΈ Scrub box – for the scrub nurse

❀️ TOE (transoesophageal echocardiogram) probe – provides an ultrasound scan of the heart

πŸ‘©β€βš•οΈ DCP box – for the donor care physiologist

πŸ‘¨πŸ½β€βš•οΈTP box – for the theatre practitioner

πŸ’Š Medication box

🧰 Roadside bag

πŸš‘ As well as ambulance driver, Transplant Coordinator, Theatre Practitioner and Senior Staff Nurse.

Once we get notified that there is potentially a suitable heart or lung – altruistically donated by an individual and their loved ones – for a patient on our heart or lung transplant waiting lists we deploy this team, and a surgeon, to retrieve and inspect the organ. If the organ is assessed and deemed to be of good enough quality, it will be brought back ready to be transplanted into the grateful recipient at Royal Papworth Hospital.

P.S. We didn’t have enough time to unpack each of the boxes – sorry πŸ˜…”

And now have a read of Cora’s story (I will just warn you that the video shown is very difficult to watch πŸ₯Ί) It’s always amazing when families have the courage to agree to organ donation at such an incredibly tough time.

Thank you to ALL organ donors and their families ❀️

Virus 🦠


Saturday 9th to Thursday 14th November

Maybe explains why I was looking pale at work. Looks like it’s time for a virus 🦠

My usual one that I get quite regularly but this time making me feel quite poorly and the rash being quite a bit more painful than I’ve had for a while πŸ˜·πŸ˜–

Looking pale


Friday 1st to Friday 8th November

November, yuck! It’s getting very close to my least favourite month of the year πŸ˜–

On the 3rd of November I had been back at work since having my transplants for 4 years. It’s still as tough some days as it was at the start!

Well done to Derbyshire Police ‘who stepped in to deliver a human organ for an immediate transplant at a Birmingham hospital after the ambulance it was being transferred in broke down’.

Happy Bonfire Night – I didn’t actually get to see any fireworks πŸŽ‡ ☹️

While I was at work on Friday, three different customers told me that I was looking pale. It has been a tough week, full of stress and worry πŸ˜–

And finally, congratulations to Lewis Capaldi on reaching the US Number 1 spot with his song Someone You Loved (it was also Number 1 here in the UK for 7 weeks).

‘Many people might not know that while the song lyrics can apply to many situations, Lewis connected the message with organ donation.’

You can hear Lewis talking about the story behind the song in this video from NME magazine. (Sorry about the swearing 🀬 ).

25th Anniversary


Thursday 24th to Sunday 27th October

The Organ Donor Register has reached its 25th anniversary this month! More than 20,000 lives have potentially been saved or transformed thanks to its introduction.

And I am one of those people πŸ’—πŸ’™

The Organ Donor Register was set up in 1994, after a five year campaign by the amazing Cox family in memory of Peter, who died from a brain tumour in 1989 aged 24 and became a donor.

Read The Cox family story

Join today and help save more lives – Register your decision

Have a look at this fascinating video. Their moving in a straight line?! 😱

Well done to England in the Rugby World Cup πŸ‰ I’m looking forward to the final on Saturday 🀞

Freezing πŸ₯Ά


Wednesday 9th to Wednesday 23rd October

It’s not much fun when your boiler breaks down and you have no heating or hot water for the week. Grumpy girls, Leah having to use the β€˜not very nice’ showers up at the gym when she’s finished her workout and Robyn actually getting under the freezing cold one at home 🚿πŸ₯Ά She is absolutely crazy that girl!

Heaven when we eventually got it fixed.

We certainly take these simple things for granted nowadays don’t we.

Have a watch of this video. ‘making the decision’ to donate a loved one’s organs when dealing with their loss can be tough for families. This is how doctors and nurses help them through.

This makes me think even more of my two donor families who had to go through this absolutely dreadful time 😰

Thank you πŸ’—πŸ’™

Please have that important chat with your family and friends so that they know your own wishes, it makes a difficult time much easier, and then many more donor organs will become available to save other people’s lives πŸ™‚

And just to end on a slightly lighter note, this is definitely me, everything hurts πŸ˜–

A night in Bath


Monday 7th to Tuesday 8th October

I went to Bath πŸ˜ƒ

We packed a lot in to our one night/two day stay. We didn’t stop! We walked 11 miles over the two days πŸ‘£

It’s a lovely place to visit.

Even the shopping centre was pretty.

We watched the busker (and the lady who decided to join him) 🀣

We went out for a really yummy evening meal

and messed around making some funny videos!

We walked up to see The Royal Crescent.

“The Royal Crescent, one of Bath’s most iconic landmarks, was built between 1767 and 1775 and designed by John Wood the Younger.

This impressive landmark is arranged around a perfect lawn overlooking Royal Victoria Park and forms a sweeping crescent of 30 Grade I Listed terrace houses. It is without doubt one of the greatest examples of Georgian architecture anywhere in the UK.

The 500-foot-long crescent has an impressive ha-ha (sunken fence) which was designed to keep grazing animals out of the more formal areas of the garden. Many notable people have either lived or stayed in the Royal Crescent since it was built, and some are commemorated on special plaques attached to the relevant buildings.

Today, The Royal Crescent is home to the five-star hotel The Royal Crescent Hotel & Spa, a luxurious haven of elegance and tranquility, a museum of Georgian life at No. 1 Royal Crescent, and private housing.

It is also a popular location for films and period dramas. Jane Austen’s Persuasion included many scenes shot at the Royal Crescent, and it also featured in the 2008 film The Duchess starring Keira Knightley.

Perhaps the most controversial moment in the Crescent’s history, however, occurred during the 1970s, when the resident of No. 22, Miss Annabel Wellesley-Colley, painted her front door yellow instead of the traditional white.

Miss Wellesley-Colley had to fight two enforcement orders from Bath City Council and defend herself at a public enquiry, before it was finally declared that the door could remain yellow, which is just how you will see it today!”

We went to the Thermae Bath Spa, an award-winning natural spa where you can bathe in Britain’s only naturally warm, mineral-rich waters as the Celts and Romans did over 2,000 years ago!

We spent quite a lot of our time there in the open-air rooftop pool with views over the city.

It was quite weird being in there during the heavy rain showers, but when the warm sun came back out it was just the best β˜€οΈ

There was just time for me to try and be artistic in the early evening sunshine with my photograph of Bath Abbey πŸ“Έ

And then we had to come home ☹️

Where’s the camel?


Tuesday 1st to Sunday 6th October

So it’s only the beginning of October and already I just want to hibernate.

It’s so cold in the shop where I work, Raynaud’s time! (Have you tried picking up coins when your fingertips are completely numb …)

My body is just tense all day long where it’s trying to keep me warm! Not much good at all for my already hurting back πŸ˜–

Can you find the camel in the picture below?

There was a claim going around that if you can’t find the camel you may be at risk of suffering from Alzheimer’s in the future. I think this has now been proved to be a hoax.

But I just really like the clever way the animals have all been put together to create the illusion of the human face.